Demand for fast and reliable Wi-Fi is at an all-time high as millions of people rely on Zoom and other video conferencing apps to communicate with colleagues and clients. Many organizations are also finding that video calls reduce the need for business travel and client visits.
However, increased reliance on Wi-Fi can reveal problems, especially in larger offices or homes where the Wi-Fi signal may struggle to reach more distant rooms on other floors. Instead of relying on a conventional Wi-Fi router and access points or range extenders, opting for a mesh networking system is a useful alternative solution.
Also: The best Wi-Fi routers
The latest mesh systems are now adopting theWi-Fi 6 standard (also known asIEEE 802.11ax), which is certainly worth considering for businesses and homes alike looking to maximize the performance and flexibility of their Wi-Fi setups. With these factors in mind, we researched the best mesh Wi-Fi systems to help you gain the signal you need. Our top pick for the best mesh Wi-Fi system for 2023 is the TP-Link Deco X55 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. The design is compact, discreet, and the three-pack offers stable connectivity with incredible square footage for a fantastic price point.
The best mesh routers for 2023
Pros & Cons
- Excellent wireless range
- Users report annoyance with power cable length
TP-Link Deco AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 mesh systemtech specs: Wi-Fi:Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 | Speed:2×2/HE160 2402 Mbps plus 2×2 574 Mbps| Ports:10/100/1000 Mbps | AI-assisted mesh|Range:6,500 square feet
The TP-Link Deco X55 is an impressive mesh system suitable for larger homes or small offices. Available in a three-pack for a sale price of $200 ($80 off), this mesh system tops our list for its combination of features and affordability.
Also: Mesh routers vs. Wi-Fi routers: What's best for your home office?
This mesh system covers areas of up to 6,500 square feet and includes three Gigabit ports per unit, providing robust performance and coverage across the entire network. While only dual-band, the system utilizes the 5 GHz frequency and is able to manage up to 150 connected devices.
TP-Link Deco X55 usesAI mesh. Therouter will analyze your home environment and will adjust bandwidth use and connectivity based on features such as weak coverage spots, obstacles, and usage.
Pros & Cons
- Blazing fast speeds
- Fantastic coverage
- Expensive setup for larger coverage
Netgear Orbi AX5400 features:Wi-Fi:Wi-Fi 6, 2.4GHz, 5GHz bands, MU-MIMO capable,160MHz channels |Speed:5.4 Gbps+|Ports:WAN, LAN, Ethernet|CPU:1GHz dual-core|Range:up to 12,500 square feet
The Netgear Orbi AX5400 (RBK763) is a Gigabit Wi-Fi system based on mesh technologies that are best suited for homes that need a lot of coverage. You can harness the network to support up to 75 devices in around seven rooms, making dead zones a thing of the past.
Furthermore, the router system included parental app controls and support for 160MHz channels, which boosts the speed of mobile device connectivity. You can purchase packs including routers and additional satellites to increase coverage, of which starter packs begin at 5,000 square feet.
Also:How to set up a VPN on your router
A year of Netgear Armor is included for free. Prices begin at $500 for a two-pack system, and you can also buy additional satellites separately.
Pros & Cons
- Wi-Fi 6
- Decent coverage
- Limited speed
Amazon eero 6+ mesh Wi-Fi system tech specs: Wi-Fi:Wi-Fi 6 |Speed:Up to 1 Gbps|Ports:Four Ethernet ports |Support for 160 MHz client devices | Built-in smart hub | 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
Amazon's eero 6+ mesh Wi-Fi system is designed for affordability. Although its speed is not as notable compared to other mesh networks, its price point is, as well as its user-friendly setup and design.
Also: The best budget routers for under $90
With these mesh nodes -- of which a smart hub is built-in -- you can expect up to 1,500 square feet of coverage.
The mesh system utilizes the 160 MHz channel for additional connectivity alongside the standard 2.4GHz and 5GHz band channels. Amazon's TrueMesh technology automatically routes traffic to avoid dead zones and reduce the risk of connection drops.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent coverage range
- Tri-band Wi-Fi
- Exceptional speeds
- Guest mode
- Dull design
Linksys Atlas Max 6E tech specs:Wi-Fi:Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E|Speed:4.2 Gbps+|Ports:WAN, 4 LAN, USB|CPU:1.4 - 2.2GHz quad-core|Range:9,000 square feet
The tall, white plastic design looks very similar to Linksys's popular Velop mesh systems and houses no less than 12 internal antennae, powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. However, Linksys has clearly decided that this new Wi-Fi 6E system deserves a powerful new name based on its high-performance credentials -- hence the Linksys Atlas Max 6E.
Also: The best VPN routers (and whether you can turn any router into one)
The Atlas Max 6E supports the 6GHz frequency band, in addition to the existing 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands. Prices start at $299 for a Wi-Fi 5 router, while the more expensive options provide tri-band Wi-Fi 6E with a top speed of 8.4Gbps (referred to as AXE8400). To match its high-end wireless speed, the Atlas also provides Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices that require a wired connection and a USB 3.0 port for connecting USB storage devices that can be shared on the network.
One Atlas router can cover an area of up to 3,000 square feet, with professional installation available for business users. At the top of the range, it can support over 195 device connections -- far more than necessary for an average home, but potentially great for SMBs.
Amazon is currently offering 20% off the typical RRP.
Pros & Cons
- Lack of satellite ports
Google Nest Wi-Fi Profeatures:Wi-Fi:Wi-Fi 6E, 2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz, 6.0 GHz bands |Speed:5.4 Gbps+ |Range:up to 2,200 square feet | Guest mode
The Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro has an improved capacity for speed and coverage compared to older Nest models, and especially when it's on sale, this bundle of three satellites is certainly worth your consideration if you need blanket coverage for an average-sized home.
This mesh network is centered around a Wi-Fi 6E router capable of handling traffic on 2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz, and 6.0 GHz bands. Furthermore, the router is easily set up within the Google ecosystem and mobile app, and you can choose to create a guest network for visitors.
What is the best Wi-Fi mesh system?
My pick for the best mesh Wi-Fi system is the TP-Link Deco X55. It offers dual-band Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet ports, and an impressive range of 6,500 square feet for an extremely affordable price point.
However, if you're not sure, there are other options -- as listed below -- to consider.
|Mesh Wi-Fi system||Price||Range||Wi-Fi 6?|
|TP-Link Deco X55||$200||6,500 square feet||Yes|
|Netgear Orbi AX5400 (RBK763)||$500||12,500 square feet||Yes|
|Amazon eero 6+ mesh Wi-Fi system||$112||4,500 square feet||Yes|
|Linksys Atlas Max 6E||$800||9,000 square feet||Yes|
|Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro||$320||2,200 square feet||Yes|
Which is the right mesh Wi-Fi system for you?
The size of your home or office building is the key factor in choosing a mesh system. The good news is that even less expensive mesh systems that still use older Wi-Fi 5 networking protocols are fast enough to cope with Zoom calls, music, video, and gaming.
However, more expensive Wi-Fi 6 systems can offer increased speed and are more efficient at streaming data to multiple connected devices simultaneously. Therefore, Wi-Fi 6 systems provide greater speed and are the best option for homes or offices with lots of computers, mobile devices, and IoT devices that are in daily use.
|Choose this mesh Wi-Fi system...||If you need...|
|TP-Link Deco X55||A fast and well-rounded dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system for an excellent price. As an upgrade from your ISP-issued router, it's a great choice for brilliant coverage, an easy setup, and reliable connections for multiple devices.|
|Netgear Orbi AX5400 (RBK763)||A modern Wi-Fi system offering Gigabit speeds. While somewhat expensive, this option is best if you want a future-proof network capable of high speeds and coverage.|
|Amazon eero 6+ mesh Wi-Fi system||An affordable mesh system. You can't go wrong with mesh if you need to increase coverage, but you might sacrifice some speed as a result.|
|Linksys Atlas Max 6E||A high-end mesh Wi-Fi system. This choice is suitable if you don't mind investing seriously in your network, but it will be overkill for many typical households.|
|Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro||A budget-friendly mesh Wi-Fi system with tri-band features. This router will provide stable, consistent, and speedy coverage for your home.|
How did we choose these mesh Wi-Fi systems?
There are two key areas to focus on, starting with affordable systems that simply provide greater range and reliability than a single, conventional Wi-Fi router.
It was also important to include a number of high-end mesh systems -- primarily using the new Wi-Fi 6 standard (802.11ax) -- that provide greater performance than older Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) routers. As well as being suitable for homes and offices, these high-end systems also offer greater range and reliability for buildings such as warehouses and public venues such as restaurants and hotels.
Ultimately, we based our choices on the following features:
- Internet connectivity: Naturally, this has to be one of the top considerations. With so many of us working from home and reliant on the internet -- not to mention using online services for controlling home devices and entertainment -- we made sure that the products selected would provide the level of connectivity we now all need.
- Speed and capacity: Mesh systems were designed to solve the problems of weak coverage in large areas and bottlenecks caused by too many devices attempting to connect to one access point. Considering they are usually more expensive than traditional Wi-Fi routers, our recommendations needed to have good coverage and multiple device support.
- Additional features: Many manufacturers now implement additional controls and service support to entice consumers, including parental controls, virtual private network (VPN) support, separate network creation, guest modes, and more.
- Budget: Not every home needs a blazingly fast, future-proof mesh system able to handle hundreds of connected devices. Sometimes, affordability is key. We have included a selection of mesh devices suitable for different budgets.
What is a mesh Wi-Fi system?
A mesh Wi-Fi system acts similarly to Wi-Fi extenders. There is a main unit that connects to your modem and one or more satellite units that provide more consistent signals throughout your home.
The difference between a mesh network and range extenders is that a mesh system is all part of the same network, so you don't have to worry about needing to switch networks as you move around your house.
Does a mesh Wi-Fi system replace my router?
A mesh system does, in a way, replace your router. But think of it as more like upgrading to a new model than being able to get rid of it altogether.
Any mesh Wi-Fi system you buy will have a base router that connects to your modem and acts like your old router, sending signals out through your home. That signal is then picked up and rebroadcasted by the satellite routers, creating a larger signal range as well as stronger signals for streaming and gaming.
How many mesh devices or nodes do I need?
A two-piece mesh should be able to cover homes or offices up to 3,000 to 5,000 square feet (check the manufacturer's specifications to see what they recommend). Buildings or outdoor venues larger than 5,000 square feet may need another satellite device.
Why should you buy a mesh system?
A single, standalone router is generally adequate for smaller offices, or single-story homes with one or two bedrooms. But if you have rooms on other floors, or thick walls that can block your Wi-Fi signal, then you may experience "dead zones" that have weak Wi-Fi. A mesh system uses several devices -- usually a main router and one or more satellite nodes -- in different locations to extend the Wi-Fi signal beyond the range of a single router.
Most mesh systems are aimed at home users and marketed as easily-configured solutions for "whole-home Wi-Fi," but some are particularly suitable for business users. These systems may include features such as multiple Ethernet ports or the ability to create several networks with different passwords.
What about range extenders?
If you just have one or two rooms where the Wi-Fi is weak, then a low-cost "range extender" may be able to boost the Wi-Fi signal just in those rooms, with prices starting as low as $20. However, multi-device mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed to provide a more extensive Wi-Fi network that covers your entire home or office.
Are there alternative mesh Wi-Fi systems to consider?
The best options, as listed above, are based on pricing, purpose, and compatibility with other devices. However, if you would like more choices that are on sale, here are some others to consider:
Best alternative for coverage
Netgear Nighthawk mesh Wi-Fi 6 system (MK63S) - 28% off
Free Armor security and two satellites, offering up to 4,500 square feet of coverage for over 25 connected devices.
View at Amazon
Best tr-band alternative
Synology MR2200ac mesh Wi-Fi router - An alternative mesh option
At only $120, the Synology MR2200ac mesh router is an affordable mesh option.
View at Amazon
Best alternative for affordability
Linksys MR7340 Hydra mesh Wi-Fi 6 router
The Linksys MR7340 Hydra mesh Wi-Fi 6 router offers coverage of up to 1,700 square feet and speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps.
View at Amazon
Best alternative for power
Netgear Orbi 960 quad-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh system - A future-proof system
The Netgear Orbi 960 quad-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh system is packed with features, high specifications, and coverage of up to 9,000 square feet.
View at Netgear
Best discounted mesh system
TP-Link Deco W7200 tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh router system, two-pack - $24 off
Over at Walmart, you can pick up a two-pack TP-Link Deco tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh router system, offering up to 5,500 square feet of coverage, with a discount.
View at Walmart
Best alternative clearance deal
Arris Surfboard AX6600 tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, two-pack - Save $199
The Arris Surfboard AX6600 is an extremely fast, reliable mesh system. Even better, it's on clearance.
View at Best Buy
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The Eero 6+ mesh Wi-Fi system is our new top pick for the best mesh Wi-Fi system, replacing the very similar Eero 6. The two systems are similar, with the 6+ gaining critical features such as more bandwidth, which improved the overall experience in our testing.What is the best connection type for a mesh router? ›
In a mesh system, only traditional Tri-band hardware -- those with an additional 5GHz band -- can have a dedicated backhaul band without ostracizing clients of the same band. Generally, it's best to use network cables for backhauling -- wired backhauling. And that's an advantage of mesh hardware with network ports.What to look for when buying a mesh router? ›
- Frequency band. Modern Mesh systems broadcast on 2.4GHz band and 5GHz band. ...
- Size and number of antennas. ...
- Delivers the speed you need. ...
- Supports WiFi 6. ...
- Set up and management.
Plus, incorrect setup could leave security and other important systems vulnerable to problems. Additionally, mesh networks are expensive to build. You'll need to buy nodes to cover your entire location. Plus, if you're unfamiliar with setup, accidentally buying equipment you don't need is all-too-easy.Should I get WiFi 5 or 6 mesh? ›
If you're splurging on gigabit internet—even though it's overkill for most people—you'll likely want a Wi-Fi 6 router to go with it. As the networking expert Dong Ngo has noted, Wi-Fi 6 can hit speeds of around 1,000 Mbps in the real world with most devices, while Wi-Fi 5 might get to around half those speeds at best.Is mesh better than multiple routers? ›
The main benefit of a mesh network is extended coverage. Investing in a mesh setup will remove annoyances, such as coverage blackspots or slow connections in larger properties with a lot of square feet. You're far less likely to have dead zones with a mesh system than you are with a single router access point.Does mesh WiFi work through walls? ›
Does mesh WIFI work through walls? Yes, Mesh WiFi signals can penetrate through walls depending on how thick they are. Remember, while this is a WiFi boosting solution, it's still operating on a wireless signal, which is naturally vulnerable to interferences.How long do mesh routers last? ›
If you can't remember the last time you got a new router, it's probably well out of date. Many experts suggest that if you don't use that many smart devices around your home, you can probably get away with replacing your router every five years.
The new device should be placed at the outer edges of the area where coverage is good, either directly from the router or from another mesh node. A good rule of thumb is placing the new access point approximately half way between the previous access point and the area that has poor coverage.How far apart should mesh routers be? ›
A good rule of thumb is to place the second node halfway between the router and the dead zone as you would with a range extender, but limit the distance to no more than two rooms, or about 30 feet. If you're using more than one satellite, follow the two-room rule.
July 14, 2023
Experts recommend replacing your router at least every five years—and every two to three years for those of you who use several high-bandwidth devices and smart home devices.
For a single mesh WiFi pack, place the hub near the center of the house. For multiple packs, the optimal distance is no more than 10-15 meters between nodes.Is mesh WiFi really better? ›
Mesh WiFi systems offer better speeds than WiFi extenders because the mesh router and satellite nodes are specially tuned to create a unified network. They also cooperate by instantly handing-off connections to devices to the fastest point as they move around the home.Is it worth upgrading to mesh WiFi? ›
Benefits of Mesh WiFi
Here are the top benefits of upgrading to Mesh WiFi: Improved speed and coverage: A household or business may have multiple users and many connected devices. Traditional routers lack fast speeds and adequate range, which causes weak signals or dead spots within a home.